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Thursday, August 9, 2012

TRAVELS WITH SERENA - GUEST AUTHOR MICHELE DRIER


Buda Castle, Hungary

Author Michele Drier writes both mystery and paranormal romance. Her paranormal mystery series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, is set in Hungary, and today Michele is here to tell us about that beautiful country. To learn more about Michele and her books, visit her website. -- AP   

Hungary is missing and I’m wondering if the Kandeskys have anything to do with it.

Probably not. I have to confess that it’s most likely my haphazard filing system to blame.

Even though I’d like to think that the Kandesky family of vampires, have eerily used their powers to make all my Hungarian information disappear, I know they’re just characters in a series of novels.

Whatever the reason, I can’t find the books and five rolls of pictures that I took on a trip to Hungary. A cousin and I were traveling that summer when the Eastern Bloc was crumbling, and I wanted to see at least one of the countries before they joined the west. I was pumping for Bulgaria or Albania, but she was a little nervous, so we settled on Hungary. We’d take a hydrofoil down the Danube from Vienna to Budapest.

Benedictine Abbey, Hungary
Fate stuck a hand in when my cousin met a Hungarian at the inn we stayed at in the Vienna Woods. Peter had a sister in Budapest who’d be glad to put us up for a few days. So we headed off with his sister’s address for a Hungarian adventure, a little tricky since we didn’t speak Hungarian and Peter didn’t speak English. When the hydrofoil pulled up to the dock in Budapest, the first thing we saw was a 20-foot-tall Levis sign overlooking the river. The second thing was a Russian cruise ship.

It was an amazing time. Judi and her husband, Sandor, put us up in their absent son’s apartment in Buda (he was away on troop maneuvers) and they entertained us for days, even driving us to Judi’s mother’s house in Sopron. On the way back to Budapest, we listened to the Pink Floyd concert live from the Berlin Wall, with our hosts gleefully saying goodbye to the Soviets.

We also spent some time with Peter at his house in a village so small that milk and vegetables were delivered in a horse-drawn cart, and almost-full-grown storks were still in their nests on chimneys.

Sopron, Hungary
 When I began writing SNAP: The World Unfolds, the book that became the start of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, I had a hazy idea that the family originated somewhere in Eastern Europe, probably in the Carpathian Mountains. The more I wrote about this cultured, urbane, uber-rich family, the more I realized that they were Hungarian. This land that had been overrun so many times by invaders, but managed to thrive and survived to become the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was certainly where a vampire family began more than 500 years ago.

It’s a country with a rich heritage of many cultures, perfect for a family that needs to look both east and west in their business dealings and influence.

I haven’t stayed in touch with Peter and Judi and Sandor, and I’m sorry for that.
This Hungarian family gave their time and effort to make sure two traveling Americans saw and absorbed some of the best their country had to offer, and now I’m repaying them by settling a family of vampires there!

Fisherman's Bastion, Hungary
I don’t think they’d mind, though. The Kandeskys aren’t your average blood-suckers. They’re businesspeople who have cornered the market on the world’s celebrity journalism, with a print and broadcast empire called SNAP. They’re headquartered in Baron Stefan Kandesky’s castle in Hungary, and travel the world in private jets and limos, entertaining the cream of media, sports and aristocratic luminaries.

Where I’ve misplaced Hungary, though, stumps me. I really don’t think the Kandeskys made off with my pictures and books—I don’t think they’re unhappy that I’m telling their story. But a little bit of doubt set in when I couldn’t find any traces.

Before I finish Book Four of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, Danube: A Tale of Murder, I guess I’d better clean my office. Maybe some night. I may catch one of the Kandeskys pilfering things.

Readers, have any of you travelled to Hungary? It looks like a great place for a vacation, doesn't it? -- AP

21 comments:

NoraA said...

Very cute! I'll have to buy a copy for one of the in-laws (a college professor) who is Hungarian and still has tons of family there.

I'd love to see his face when he reads it.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

What an absolutely delightful post!
Loved the creation of the family and what great photos!

Thanks, both of you.

Marilyn

Kaye George said...

Well, the pictures you posted are excellent--I'm glad you have those! This book sounds to good! I must add it to the towering TBR stack (I have towers on the floors AND on my e-reader).

susan furlong-bolliger said...

By the looks of these pictures, Hungary makes a perfect setting for a family of vampires. Love the premise of the book, Michelle. Great pictures and an excellent post!

Michele Drier said...

Thanks for all the comments! It's a lovely country with wonderful history and I hope to go back some day. Once bitten by Hungary and it's in your blood.
Thanks Lois/Anastasia for having me as a guest. I've enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

No, but I live in a Hungarian neighborhood.

Alicia Street said...

Fun post! My maternal grandmother is Hungarian so I always love reading about it. With or without vampires!
Look forward to reading your book.

Larkin Hunter said...

What fun!

No Hungarian blood here, but I was thinking yesterday that if I could, I'd travel in Eastern Europe--someplace where they don't use the Roman alphabet but where the coffee is excellent. Also pastry. (We have some Hungarian and Polish bakeries in the Hill Country, so I'm good with that?)

The books sound like a ton of fun--Urbane is great by me.

Do you remember an old movie (Claudette Colbert, John Barrymore, and the adorable Don Ameche as Tibor Czerny) called "Midnight"? Takes place in Paris, but the Czerny family is Hungarian nobility--or royalty--I never know where the line of demarcation is.

Oh. I see I failed the Capcha. I really, really, really HATE those thing. Just my two cents' worth.

Vamp Writer said...

Loved reading about your trip and seeing the pictures. I read SNAP and enjoyed it greatly. My own first vampire novel (sequel to be out Sept.) is based in the Czech Republic, w/action in England and Russia, so I enjoyed the Hungarian aspect of your work. My good vamps own corporations and defend humans as well.

Michele Drier said...

Alicia, I hope you'll enjoy it.
And Larkin, finding your way with maps in another alphabet is interesting; coffee and pastries are easier!
Vamp Writer, this proves that great minds think alike! I'm happy you liked SNAP. Books Two and Three are also out now.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Cindy Sample said...

Thanks for the armchair journey to Hungary. I'm salivating over your photos and the thought of delectable pastries. I already know your series is delectable. Are you sure that research isn't hidden under a slice of strudel?

Michele Drier said...

Unfortunately, it's probably too many pieces of Strudel!

Patg said...

IMHO, the only way to enter Hungary is via the hydrofoil from Vienna. VIE/BUD
Do you have Microsoft Photo Gallery? It tends to eat everything, eventually.
Patg

StephB said...

What an exciting discovery to find your blog! I visited in Hungary in 1997 while still in the US Army. I was deployed to Kaspovar in support of the mission in Bosnia and stayed there from JUL - OCT 1997. I also visited Budapest. I fell in love with Hungary. Seeing your pictures just melted my heart and brought back some great memories.

Michele, I am definately adding your books to my TBR pile.

Hungary also inspired my own writing. I often thought it was a place you might believe that such creatures like werewolves exsisted. With that premise I wrote the Budapest Moon series. They're paranormal romance set in the early 1900's about a family of werewolves. I'm working on book 4 now. :)

Best of luck to you Michelle!
Smiles
Steph

Michele Drier said...

Hi Pat...no I've misplaced (?) most of my European pictures during a couple of moves. These were all pre-digital so I need to open a lot of boxes! And yep, the hydrafoil is great! I've driven in from Austria, too and not nearly as dramatic.

And Steph!!! Hungarian werewolves! Absolutely. I'll look for Budapest Moon.
Thanks for visiting and commenting

Michelle F. said...

No, but I live in a Hungarian neighborhood and there's a festival coming up with Hungarian dancing and food.

Michele Drier said...

How cool!Hope you have a wonderful time.

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

My cousin's daughter lived in Hungary for several years. I think that came about after she was an exchange student there. I will recommend this book to her, also.

Michele Drier said...

Thanks, Gail. I hope she likes it!

hicotton said...

Oh Michele,

What memories you've provoked.

My husband is Hungarian and we spent a lot of time in Hungary in the '80s and '90s. His family was originally from Transylvania (!!) and he's filled me in on the *real* story of Dracula. Even worse than the fictional accounts. Yikes.

You're so right. Hungary is a magical, exotic, completely engaging country. Can't wait to read 'Travels with Serena!'

Jane

Michele Drier said...

Transylvania, Jane! Wonderful.
I'm glad the post brought back great memories!